A Gift Touches Many Lives

By Donna Atola, Africa Field Communications Specialist   |  Photos by Hope Center Staff

Times became tough for a sponsored boy in Zimbabwe during the COVID-19 pandemic that left his mother jobless, but a single gift from his sponsor and Child Champion touched more than just his life.

Kudakwashe, front left, with his extended family in Zimbabwe.

Kudakwashe, a sponsored boy in Zimbabwe, is an only child. His mother, Boitumelo, solely cares for him because his father is not supportive.

Thirteen-year-old Kudakwashe currently lives with his grandmother, mother, aunty, and his four cousins in an impoverished community in Tshabalala Bulawayo, the country’s second-largest city.

They were forced to relocate to his grandmother’s house after his mother lost her job and was unable to pay their rent. Kudakwashe’s mother used to work at a primary school where her average monthly income was the equivalent of $80.

Most caregivers in her community, like Boitumelo, earn a small amount from working menial jobs as housekeepers, security guards, and gardeners. These families in impoverished communities prioritize purchasing food and settling their rent bills. However, the money earned is usually not enough to provide adequate food for the families, making child hunger a real threat.

Blow After Blow

When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in Zimbabwe in 2020, a lockdown was instituted to curb the spread of the virus, and schools across the country were shut down on March 31. The situation left Boitumelo and many others like her jobless.

Kudakwashe and his family are grateful to his sponsor and Child Champion for the food gift.

Kudakwashe’s aunt, who also moved back to his grandma’s house with her four kids, was also among the many who lost jobs as self-employed small-scale traders due to the government’s crackdown on informal trading to control the spread of the virus. Hope seemed in short supply for this family.

With the country facing drought for two decades now and many caregivers jobless, Kudakwashe was hungry and worried about his future. When he attended school, he at least received meals and snacks.

But all was not lost for Kudakwashe and other kids registered at the child development nonprofit, OneChild. ChildCare Ministries, another U.S. nonprofit group, partnered with OneChild to purchase food baskets for all the kids to help them survive under the crushing conditions and to renew their hope of a better future.

In November, Kudakwashe’s hope was further renewed when his sponsor donated funds for Kudakwashe’s gift. His Child Champions, together with his mother, settled on purchasing food and clothes as a gift to the boy.

The food included sugar, flour, macaroni, rice, orange juice, tea bags, powdered milk, toiletries, soap, and petroleum jelly.

‘A Beautiful Surprise’

“I am so grateful,” Kudakwashe says. “It was a beautiful surprise that I least expected. It was a great relief to my family because the worry of where we would get our next meal was settled.

“Thank you, my sponsor, for not only making me happy but also for making my family happy. I would one day love to meet my sponsor so that I can express my gratitude in person.”

Says his mother, “The gift of the grocery food hamper came in handy because times had gone from bad to worse with the loss of my job. I thank God for such a wonderful sponsor, who despite living in hard times because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was kind enough to gift us.”

Kudakwashe is currently in ninth grade in the Tshabalala suburb of Bulawayo. His favorite learning activity is agriculture because he loves animals, and he hopes to be a veterinarian in the future.

With the country still in lockdown, he spends his days with his cousins studying and playing indoor games. The simple gift of food made a big difference in his life, and now Kudakwashe can relax a little and enjoy being a kid.

Bless families like Kudakwashe’s with a Family Gift so they can buy practical items that they normally can’t afford.


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